NEW YORK, NY — (Marketwire) — 03/24/10 — What’s the former Russian intelligence officer to do when he quits his job and sits at home 15 miles outside of Moscow?
Build and sell $150,000 high end stereo systems, according to Russia! magazine, which published the story about Alexei Semin on its blog, www.readrussia.com. «…Alexei Semin builds stereos in his basement — by hand, from scratch — using antique vacuum tubes he finds scattered throughout the Internet tube sound aficionado universe. He is part of the renaissance of tube sound, or sound systems based not around solid-state transistors — tiny, cheap, plastic things in your home stereo — but around vacuum tubes, known as ‘lamps’ in Russian, because that’s what they look like.
Unlike transistor amplifiers, which replaced tubes commercially in the late 1960s, tube-based amps are bulky, fragile black holes of energy that are hard to build and are therefore very, very expensive,» — writes Russia!.
«It’s actually quite typical of this country,» says Ilya Merenzon, the magazine’s publisher. «A man quits his job and makes amazing products out of his basement. This is how the most amazing things are produced there anyway. For decades, people in Russia were trained to fix by hand whatever terrible products the factories were producing. Now, people can assemble cars our of vacuum cleaners (true story!) and build best stereos in the world.» Semin’s company, S.A.Labs, produces about 20 systems per year and most of them are sold in Russia. Each stereo system is custom-made and can cost from $20,000 to $150,000. Russia!, an English-language publication devoted to the most original coverage of people, trends, ideas and events taking place in or around Russia, is available in print as well as online at www.readrussia.com.